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As this is retro comic book review of another Ultraverse comic book written by the late James Hudnall, I encourage you to take time to check out his background and other works via Comic Book Resource’s report of his death on April 2019.
In memory of James Hudnall, here are his words published near the end of The Solution #7:
The Solution is a dream team for me. I’ve been wanting to mix the genres of fantasy and cyberpunk science fiction with the super-hero genre for some time. Add my love of Japanese animation and Hong Kong cinema and you can see where I’m coming from here. This series is designed to show us some of the more bizarre and dark sectors of the Ultraverse without, hopefully, falling into the trap many similar books do where they lay it on too thick. The Ultraverse is a complex and multi-faceted universe and our books explore different sides. Here I want to delve deep into the criminal and espionage arenas as well as the magic sub-cultures that exist.
The characters themselves have a rich and interesting history that I plan to slowly unveil as the series progresses. When you first meet someone, you usually don’t know that much about the person. The characters are rather deep, as we will discover, and their personalities and more complex than you’re probably used to seeing in comics.
Now we can start this look back at The Solution #6, the Ultraverse comic book published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by James Hudnall and illustrated by John Statema (with ink work by Dennis Jensen and Mark Stegbauer).
The story begins with Lela Cho (Tech) alone paying respect to her father at his grave. She tearfully recalls what happened right after he died.
The narrative then shifts to 1993, specifically the day her father was about to get buried with many guests involved. Even though she is mourning, a man with blonde hair approaches her. His name is Kyle Sanders and he tells her she wants to talk to her about the corporation called Hypersonic. After receiving his business card, Lela feels a strange sense of dread creeping up on her.
A few days later, Lela attends a Board of Directors meeting at the headquarters of Hypersonic. She reminds them that she inherited all of her father’s shares in the company that makes her a majority stockholder and it was written in his will that she will assume his post as Chairman of the Board. Even though she already earned her Master’s Degree in Business at Harvard, the BOD members rejected her on the grounds that she’s too young and has no previous practical experience. They expressed that it would be better for her to work within the company and climb her way up.
Even though she got rejected and found herself alone, she decided not to give up and move forward by visiting NuWare, a corporation in San Francisco, California, that specializes on bio-tech implants (Wetware) that can make a person an Ultra…
This is a very compelling, character-driven comic book, one of the best of the Ultraverse I read as of this writing. Clearly the late Hudnall achieved his goal of not only developing Lela Cho/Tech, but also defining her as a living part within the Ultraverse. Speaking of the Ultraverse, there is this nice and subtle connection with certain people regarding The Strangers.
Back to Lela Cho, her personality was very deeply defined by Hudnall. By the time you reach the end of this comic book, you should at least be caring about her even though her status as a super-rich lady trying to make her way up in business (while protecting herself) puts her on a different class. Ultimately her transformation into an Ultra is special to read and examine, even worthy of a cinematic adaptation.
Regarding the visuals, John Statema pulled of a great job. I love how the facial expressions he illustrated brought out the ranging emotions of the characters, specifically with Lela. When she’s mad, she really looks mad. When she is sad, you will see the sadness. Regarding action, Statema’s effort was decent.
I really liked The Solution #6. From start to finish, it kept me engaged and ultimately it made me understand Lela Cho/Tech much better, which also made me go back to re-reading the first issue.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Solution #6, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4.
Overall, The Solution #6 is highly recommended.
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